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PLANNING THE SCHOOL GARDEN
Dream BIG…Start Small…THINK PHASES
A school garden is not likely to last or be fully used without broad support from the school community. So the first job of someone wishing to start a garden is to gather support. To do this, you need a plan!
Step 1: Develop the Garden Concept or Theme (e.g. nature-pollinators, water-wise, sensory, fruits & vegetables, or some of each!)
Step 2: Identify Leadership/Support & Seek Administrative Approval (identify a local garden club to partner with parents, key teachers-early adopters, principal, & PTA)
Step 3: Propose Site Options (adopt an existing area or create a new one – obtain district approval; design it with proximity to classrooms; access to irrigation either auto or hand, be realistic!)
Step 4: Identify Goals & Links to Curriculum (metamorphosis, natural habitats, vegetables, adaptations, senses, composting, water conservation; develop or research teaching materials or guides)
Step 5: Design the Garden (How many students/grades involved – 500+ students in the first phase maybe overwhelming! Consider the age/development of student for width of veggie beds)
Step 6: Identify Funding (PTA commitment, garden clubs, grants, city, hardware stores, nurseries, and donated materials)
Step 7: Identify Volunteer Labor & Build the Garden (parents, students, teachers, Eagle/Scouts, garden club members; plan on multiple workdays, make it fun and recognize student leaders)
Step 8: Plant the Garden & Enjoy the Harvest (students plant with volunteers; harvest and eat veggies; explore and connect with nature)
Step 9: Sustainability - Establish a Stewardship Plan (after-school Jr. Gardener Clubs; garden website/newsletters; email volunteer lists; classroom parents/club members; and summer-time adoption.
School Garden Resources
California School Garden Network http://www.csgn.org/csysg
KidsGardening - http://www.kidsgardening.org/
PollinatorLIVE - http://pollinatorlive.pwnet.org/gardening/howto_schoolyard.php
EPA Kids - http://www.epa.gov/students/
National Wildlife Federation - www.nwf.org
National Environmental Education Week - http://www.eeweek.org/